March 6, 2014
In This Issue
Safety
IMA-NA CASE STUDY #5: An Ergonomics Fix that Improved Safety and Productivity!
Boy Scouts
BSA Mining in Society Merit Badge
IMA-NA Advocacy
IMA-NA Supports the RAPID Act
Obama's Budget Proposal
Obama Administration’s MSHA Budget Request for FY 2015
Obama Administration Requests 2.3% Increase for OSHA’s Budget
Obama Proposes a $52 Million Cut to NIOSH
On the Hill
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Releases Tax Reform Proposal
Trucks
Obama Administration Sets Ambitious Goal for Truck Efficiency Standard
USGS
USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries 2014 Available
GMA
GMA/IMA-NA Management Conference a Success
IMA-NA Events
2014 Industrial Minerals Technology Workshop
WEBINAR: Engineering for Silica Exposure Control: Practical Advice from Industry Colleagues
2014 Spring Meeting
Other Events
22nd Industrial Minerals International Congress & Exhibition
Just for Laughs!
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Safety
 
IMA-NA CASE STUDY #5: An Ergonomics Fix that Improved Safety and Productivity!
Learn about an ergonomics fix at AMCOL that greatly improved rail car unloading.
 
Click here to view the case study.
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Boy Scouts
 
BSA Mining in Society Merit Badge
The Boy Scouts of America launched the Mining in Society merit badge at the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration's annual meeting in Salt Lake City.  Mining has been an important part of the United States since the 19th century. Today, the U.S. mining industry employs 3 million people, directly and indirectly, and is a major contributor to the global mining landscape. This merit badge will cover the history of mining, explore the status of mining in the 21st century, and introduce Scouts to modern mining careers.  It is now imperative that informed individuals volunteer to serve as Counselors, and that mining companies make available group tours to local troops and area councils, to assist Boy Scouts in earning the badge.  Additional information on the merit badge may be accessed by clicking here.  
 
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IMA-NA Advocacy
 
IMA-NA Supports the RAPID Act
IMA-NA and other groups penned a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives supporting H.R. 2641, the “Responsibly And Professionally Invigorating Development (RAPID) Act of 2013.”  The RAPID Act would provide a streamlined process for developers, builders, and designers to obtain environmental permits and approvals for their projects in a timely and efficient manner, allowing jobs to be created and the economy to grow.  Every year that major projects are stalled or cancelled because of a dysfunctional permitting process and a system that allows limitless challenges by opponents of development, millions of jobs are not created.  For example, 351 stalled energy projects reviewed in one 2010 study (Project No Project) had a total economic value of over $1 trillion and represented 1.9 American jobs not created.  Project No Project showed that in the energy sector alone, one year of delay translates into millions of jobs not created.
 
Click here to read the letter.
 
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Obama's Budget Proposal
 
Obama Administration’s MSHA Budget Request for FY 2015
Earlier this week, the Obama Administration released its Budget Request for fiscal year 2015.  As part of the package, the Administration requested only a very slight increase in spending for the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).  The $377.2 million is up just $1.3 million from the Agency’s FY 2014 budget.  In order to increase some funding to programs such as the Office of Assessments, Accountability, Special Enforcement and Investigation as well as the Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances, MSHA would eliminate the MSHA State Grants program which would provide $8 million in additional funds.  Rather than focus on pre-existing state grants, they plan on hiring approximately 18 new full time employees to expand training delivery and oversight.  According to the proposal this will “allow MSHA to transition from state grants-based training by strengthening the distance learning program and “train the trainer” workshops while increasing the availability of safety-related training targeted to small mines."  The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have not yet scheduled a hearing on the Department of Labor’s budget.
 
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Obama Administration Requests 2.3% Increase for OSHA’s Budget
The Administration requested a 2.3% increase in the spending level for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to $565 million.  According to an article in Bloomberg BNA, despite the increase, when adjusted for inflation this would be the smallest budget request for OSHA since President Bush in 2001.  The budget for enforcement saw a small increase request of 1.5% up to $211 million, and the overall number of inspections is expected to drop to 38,250 from 39,228 in FY 2013.  The largest percentage increase in the budget was for the whistle-blower protection efforts, which saw its request rise 25% up to $21 million.  The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have not yet scheduled a hearing on the Department of Labor’s budget.  
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Obama Proposes a $52 Million Cut to NIOSH
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) saw a significant cut in its budget request from $333 million in FY 2014 to $281 million for FY 2015.  The proposed cuts come from the elimination of two programs: the Education and Research Centers and the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Program.  There has been significant pushback in the past by many in the safety and health community to the proposed elimination of the Education and Research Centers, as this program, which is housed in colleges and universities throughout the U.S., promotes training in industrial hygiene, occupational safety, and occupational health, nursing and medicine.  This is a similar proposal from the last several budget requests from the Administration.  The programs have survived the cutting board thus far, because Congress has been unable to agree on spending packages and has agreed to continuing resolutions on the previous year’s budgets.  This is the likely outcome again this year with control of Congress being divided in the House and Senate.  
 
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On the Hill
 
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Releases Tax Reform Proposal
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) recently released a 979 page draft to revamp the tax code.  Despite the long-odds of tax reform legislation being accomplished this year, Chairman Camp intends to push forward with hearings.  The proposal would put corporations top rate at 25%, down from 35%.  Individuals would also have a top rate of 25%, down from 39.6%, although a 10% surtax would hit the very top earners.  There would be several tax deductions repealed to help offset the loss in revenue.  The Camp plan would repeal breaks for moving expenses, student loan interest, accelerated depreciation and state and local taxes (which is a deal breaker for those from high tax states such as California and New York according to Sen. Schumer (D-NY), who is a high ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee).  The plan would also reduce tax breaks for health insurance, retirement savings and mortgage interest.  The primary hit on the minerals industry would be the termination of the percentage depletion deduction for mines, wells, natural deposits, and oil and gas wells placed in service after December 31, 2014.  IMA-NA is a member of a coalition of similarly situated associations who represent companies that would be impacted by the elimination of this deduction.  The coalition has stressed the need to retain the allowance, as our industries would unnecessarily be harmed.  If Congress were to eliminate the provision, it would act as a massive tax increase on natural resources’ operations, and the general tax reductions being discussed elsewhere would fail to make up for these losses.  The coalition has also stressed that the natural resources’ industries are responsible for millions of jobs in the U.S., and that Congress should be looking at ways to make these industries more competitive, and disincentivize continued growth.  Meanwhile, on the Senate side, the Senate Finance Committee’s new Chairman, Ron Wyden (D-OR) has indicated that he does not believe there will be time this year to address major changes to the tax code with the election season shortening the legislative calendar.  Instead, he is hoping to get a package of credits, extenders and deductions that expired at the end of 2013 through his committee and to the Senate floor by the late spring or early summer.  The research and development tax credit, production tax credit for renewable energy, and other deductions and breaks tied to innovations and development are a top priority for Senator Wyden to extend as quickly as possible to provide more certainty for companies that those credits will still be available this year.  
 
 For more information on the Camp proposal, please go to the Ways and Means Committee website by clicking here.  
 
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Trucks
 
Obama Administration Sets Ambitious Goal for Truck Efficiency Standard
Late last month in a speech in Maryland, President Obama indicated he was encouraging his Administration to issue the next round of fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for medium and heavy-duty vehicles by March 2016.  According to the Administration, heavy duty vehicles account for about a quarter of on-road fuel use and emissions in the United States.  The trucking industry is encouraging the Administration to proceed cautiously and encouraging close consultation with trucking firms, engine manufacturers, environmental groups and other stakeholders.  During the Obama Administration’s first term, there was a new fuel efficiency standard put in place that will be implemented in 2018 which will already improve fuel efficiency by 20%.  There is a significant fear among smaller operators that these new standards will lead to an increase in prices for future truck purchases.  The higher costs associated with the purchase of new trucks coupled with having to abide by other new regulations impacting the trucking industry by limiting driving hours has many operators worried about their ability to survive the new regulatory climate.  The Department of Transportation will work with the EPA to develop these new standards in the coming years.
 
Click here to view the Administration report.
Click here to view the Administration’s fact sheet.
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USGS
 
USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries 2014 Available
USGS has announced that the complete USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries 2014 are now available.  Published on an annual basis, this report is the earliest government publication to furnish estimates covering nonfuel mineral industry data.  Data sheets contain information on the domestic industry structure, government programs, tariffs, and 5-year salient statistics for over 90 individual minerals and materials.
 
To view the summaries, click here.
 
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GMA
 
GMA/IMA-NA Management Conference a Success
On February 26th and 27th, the Georgia Mining Association (GMA) and the Industrial Minerals Association – North America hosted the third annual Management Conference in Forsyth, Georgia.  Participants listened to a variety of excellent speakers on issues that impact the workplace. Highlights included a talk on generational differences within the workforce, an economic outlook, and a discussion on reviving work ethic.  In addition to the educational program, participants were treated to an address from the Attorney General of Georgia, Sam Olens. The Conference proved to be an excellent opportunity for leaders in the Georgia mining community to come together, network and learn about ways to continue growing and inspiring their professional and personal communities.
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IMA-NA Events
 
2014 Industrial Minerals Technology Workshop
Call for Abstracts/Registration
The 2014 Industrial Minerals Technology Workshop will be held in Hilton Head, SC at the Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa.
 
 
Registration is now open, and you may also make your hotel reservations by calling Marriott Reservations at 1-888-511-5086.  
 
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WEBINAR: Engineering for Silica Exposure Control: Practical Advice from Industry Colleagues
Join us for a webinar that will highlight practical and cost-effect engineering controls for controlling silica exposures in the industrial minerals industry.  Experts from Badger Mining Corporation, Fairmount Minerals and Unimin Corporation will discuss their decades of experience in successfully designing and installing effective controls.  The NIOSH/IMA-NA publication Dust Control Handbook for Industrial Minerals Mining and Processing (download a copy here: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/mining/works/coversheet1765.html) will be used as a text for this webinar.  Our experts will also share stories from their more challenging projects. 
 
Date: 
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Time: 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM EDT
 
Cost:
$29 - IMA-NA Members/per person
$59 - non members
 
Click here to register.
 
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2014 Spring Meeting
Save the Date
Registration for the IMA-NA 2014 Spring meeting is now open.  Click here.


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Other Events
 
22nd Industrial Minerals International Congress & Exhibition
IMA-NA members are invited to the 22nd Industrial Minerals International Congress & Exhibition and has secured a 15% discount for our members.  Book by March 7, 2014 and you can save a further $100.
 
Why attend?
  • Hear about different end use markets, including refractories, batteries, fertilisers, ceramics and glass
  • Engage in the debate about ways traditional markets for minerals are set to change 
  • Listen to keynote presentations from the leading industrial minerals producers
  • Learn about the new and different processing and technological developments 
  • Examine the effects of the shale gas revolution – cheaper energy – what does this mean for you? 
  • Gain clear understanding of the overall market trends
  • Discover what has been happening in the Steel and Aluminium markets
Find out more and view the full conference agenda by clicking here.
 
How to claim your discount:
For the best rate, call +44 (0) 20 7779 7222 or email mktg@indmin.com before  March 7 and save a further $100.  After that you can still claim your 15% IMA-NA discount.
 
For more information about IM22 and who’s attending, click here.
 
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Just for Laughs!
 


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Industrial Minerals Association - North America
2011 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Suite 301
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 457-0200
Fax (202) 457-0287